Sports Other News 07 Apr 2018 Driving team India!

Driving team India!

Published Apr 7, 2018, 3:26 am IST
Updated Apr 7, 2018, 3:26 am IST
Aiming high: Shreayan Kapoor with his students.
 Aiming high: Shreayan Kapoor with his students.

The Indian shooting team recently flew to Australia for the 2018 Commonwealth Games that kicked off on Wednesday. In the recent past, the country’s shooters have won many laurels in various sporting events across the world. And this year too, the nation is pinning high hopes on them. In any sport, the players’ key sources of strength and support is their coach. And this year, Telangana’s youngest shooter has become the Indian team’s coach and guide for ‘skeet shooting’ — one of the many subsets of the sport.

Son of popular Telugu actress Jayasudha, Shreayan Kapoor started coaching the Indian team in February this year. Shreayan says, “When the National Rifle Association of India was looking for a national coach, I applied for the job. I know the chief coach, Mansher Singh, who has tremendous experience and was interested in hiring me. He was so impressed with my determination that he called me within 20 days of applying and told me that I have been selected.”

After working hard on the team since February, Shreayan has returned to Hyderabad only a few days ago. “I prepared the team for the Commonwealth Games but I couldn’t go with them because I had some important work at home. So the chief coach and foreign coach, along with the support team, has left for Australia,” informs Shreayan.

Assuming responsibility as a national coach means that this young sportsperson will be associated with shooting for a long time to come. “I don’t want to quit the sport and I want to represent Telangana at the prestigious National Games,” he says, adding: “Coaching the Indian team and practicing with them gives me a chance to remain active in shooting.”

Mentioning what inspired him to take up shooting, Shreayan shares, “When Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the medal for India in 2005, it inspired me to try the sport. I was very young at that time, but started practicing.”

Talking about the top-notch shooting facility at the University of Hyderabad, Shreayan says, “When the Afro-Asian Games were held in Hyderabad in 2003, the then chief minister, Chandrababu Naidu built a world-class facility there and it is the best one in South India. However, it wasn’t maintained or upgraded after that. But now the Telangana Rifle Association is working very hard to update the range on par with international standards. In a couple of years, they want to host the Nationals here, which is why they are upgrading it,” he reveals.

He further adds that today kids are increasingly becoming interested in the sport. “Shooting is not a spectacular or glamorous sport like many others. It’s not a costly sport either and initially you need to buy a rifle, which doesn’t cost much,” feels Shreayan.

Interestingly, most sub-disciplines in the sport start with learning the basics using an air gun. “It will cost nothing! A box of 500 pellets and is probably Rs 400 and you can buy it from any sports shop. You can get an air gun at the shooting facility or you can buy it for Rs 10,000,” he says, adding that as an individual progresses to the top, all facilities and financial support is provided by the government.

However, some children may opt for shooting just to own a gun or for other dangerous reasons. How is that addressed? “Yes, even before they start shooting, just by talking to them we can easily identify how serious or not they are about the sport,” says Shreayan.

So how long does he plan to coach the Indian team? “I hope I continue for a few years. It all depends on the results of the team, their performance and many other aspects. Unlike other sports, shooting has five to six major championship events throughout the world. So there is lot of work to do! This is the sport where we have already won a lot of medals,” he concludes.



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